What on earth is going on with Bunter J and his Downing Street cronies. I get the distinct feeling that this man is a bit like Gordon Brown. ‘I want it, I’ve got it, I don’t know what to do with it’ and that is hardly what this beleaguered nation needs at the moment.
And what the hell does his popsy, Carrie Symonds have to do with governing the nation? Surely when Britons elect a party leader and subsequent prime minister, they no not also ordain the wife, husband or girlfriend to proffer their own wisdom on how to run the ruddy country – or do we?
Yet this week, this gormless blonde appears to have been instrumental in a remarkable way to orchestrate a plot to boot out Bunter J’s director of communications, Lee Cain so as to prevent his promotion to chief of staff.
This was not some minor personnel issue damnit! It cut to the heart of who is really in charge of the Government’s messaging in the midst of a pandemic – and even perhaps who is in charge of the Government itself.
I know little about Cain but by many accounts, he divided opinion: a former tabloid journalist, he has been described as a ‘wheeler-dealer’ who along with his mentor, the odious Dominic Cummings could at times cast a malign influence over Number Ten – even presuming at times to dictate to the boss. I hear – although it has not yet been confirmed – that Cummings too has proffered his resignation which makes the entire situation even less explicable.
Even if Ms Symonds was on the right side of the argument over Cain, she should not have been having the argument to start with. I have read as much as I could on the matter and it would appear to be a simple ‘power-grab’ led by Symonds with the help of three formidable female accomplices.
The first of these is a former Guardian journalist, Allegra Stratton, newly appointed to head Boris’s American style daily press briefings due in January. It is reported that Stratton refused to work with Cain and wanted to report directly to the PM. Why then was she selected for the post?
Second – and she denies this – is Home Secretary, Priti Patel who has long been suspicious of Cain’s close bond with Cummings. Mind you, no one – apart from Bunter – has much time for Cummings, since he broke the rules in the first lockdown to drive nearly three hundred miles to visit family and go sightseeing at Barnard Castle, including driving to ‘test his eyesight.’ He should have been fired then, but apparently our ‘Revered Leader’ does not ‘enjoy being confrontational.’ How then does he aspire to leadership of any sort?
The fourth member of this ladies’ takeover clique would seem to have been the little-known but highly respected Munira Mirza, head of the Downing Street policy unit who also it seems had misgivings about Cain.
So now we have a little cabal of women, taking control. Call it Girl Power if you like, call it feminism, call it whatever you want, but please don’t call it democracy. For make no mistake, Bunter’s seemingly determined fiancée is the obvious leader of this mini-coup at the heart of government.
So who the hell is Carrie Symonds anyway? What right does she have to determine the direction of policy behind the door of Number Ten? And how, despite being unelected, has she become the most powerful woman in politics today, and possibly the most influential Prime Ministerial ‘companion’ in history?
She is first and foremost a conservationist with very ‘green’ leanings which are beginning to rub off on the prime minister. Very noble, I am sure, but that does not qualify her to dictate the Downing Street media operation. Yet evidently Ms Symonds believes she has the right to pull the Government’s strings as she once worked as a press officer for the Tory Party and was briefly its head of communications, appointed in 2018 and stepping down later that year.
Former colleagues who met her before she began her relationship with Bunter J describe her as ‘marvellously bewitching.’ Known as ‘Apples’ for her ‘adorable dimples,’ many men were apparently captivated by her sparkling eyes and those long blonde tresses. What schmalzy nonsense! Surely what mattered was whether she could do her well-paid job.
Apparently, she also knew how to connect with the right people and had a knack of ‘always being in the right place at the right time.’ Her boast to her small Tory Central Office team back then was that whatever it took, she had her sights set on Downing Street. They naturally assumed she meant standing for election or joining the PM’s press team but did it hell?! She had her sights on getting into the Tory Leader’s pants while he was still married to the mother of four of his children.
I don’t really care whether or not this Bimbo worked as a Tory spin doctor before she moved in with Bunter, it still is not right for her to continue behind the scenes today, seemingly exerting influence over who is hired and fired, while she and the PM are living together and raising a child.
Indeed, in recent months, she appeared to have been quietly enjoying life as a new mum, nursing baby Wilfred just as, we assume, she nursed Boris through his own life-threatening bout with the virus. Yet behind the scenes, it now appears she was instrumental in triggering Cain’s resignation on Wednesday night, following media briefings about his alleged ‘incompetence’ and unsuitability for the new role.
No wonder there are whispers that this is her ‘Lady Macbeth’ moment: a calculating woman set on taking control of her husband’s destiny. What appals me is that, if this is true, it flies in the face of what people in Britain expect of the Prime Ministerial partner.
Denis Thatcher was a wise sounding-board for the country’s first and longest-serving female PM. It was he who, thirty years ago, gently told the Iron Lady when the forces of the Tory party were raging against her that it was time to go.
And, yes, Cherie Blair would intervene on behalf of her husband, phoning female MPs to vote for the dubious war in Iraq that became Blair’s undoing. But apart from headlines over allegedly dodgy property deals and taking advantage of as many freebies as she possibly could, for the most par Mrs Blair was oft seen but seldom heard.
Sarah Brown spoke at one Labour conference imploring members to support her beleaguered husband Gordon. That was noble and more than enough.
Samantha Cameron once visited a refugee camp, before realising the British do not warm to politicians’ wives trying to garner public support, however worthy the cause.
Yet until this week, no PM’s spouse or partner has ever made such a direct assault on the machinery of government, nor sought – as is alleged – to oust a trusted aide. Now, in the corridors of power, Symonds will be a woman feared – a ‘blonde assassin’ who can apparently destroy anyone she perceives to be an enemy, even if that person happens to be one of her partner’s key allies.
Yet Symonds has broken the assassin’s first rule in leaving a trail of evidence pointing to her apparent collusion in his downfall. Perhaps this was intentional, perhaps not, but in doing so, she has emasculated the Prime Minister, at a time of crisis for the country and when we are in dire need of strong leadership. She has made him appear even weaker than usual, further damaging the nation’s already shaky confidence in him.
After all, if he is not in control of his own destiny, why should we trust him with ours?
And let’s face it throughout the Coronabug epidemic, Bunter has shown himself to be the very worst kind of leader at a time of crisis that required the very best kind. If he was appearing at a public inquiry right now to examine his handling of this pandemic, as one day I hope he will, the charge sheet would so long and devastating that it would be simpler for him to just admit he got everything wrong and beg for our forgiveness. There are many other fingerprints on the dreadful decisions that have been taken this year, but he is the Boss damnit, so he is ultimately responsible.
Let me briefly list some of the terrible mistakes he has made over the past months. Firstly, he failed to take the virus seriously until it was too late, missing five consecutive COBRA meetings while he sorted out his private life, proudly telling us all that he shook as many hands as possible when attending a hospital with coronavirus patients, and allowing mass spectator events like the Cheltenham Festival and Liverpool football matches to ahead even after the World Health Organisation declared this coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
He failed to order the first Lockdown in time, an inexcusable two-week delay that experts now believe cost at least twenty five thousand lives. He failed to protect health and care workers with enough Personal Protective Equipment causing many hundreds of them to die on the frontline.
He failed to control our borders, allowing twenty million people to fly in from corona-ravaged countries like Iran, Italy and China for months without testing them on arrival or ordering any quarantine.
He failed to protect millions of elderly and vulnerable people in care homes, sending another twenty five thousand of them back to their homes to clear space in hospitals without even checking whether they had the bug. He failed to implement a proper testing system, and still has not. The test system is a complete disaster as anybody apart from Bunter and his clown of a Health Secretary can see.
He told us for months that we did not need face masks when Asian countries were all using them from January. He wrecked education for millions of children this summer with a series of calamitous blunders along with his spectacularly dreadful education secretary Gavin Williamson.
He had to be shamed by a Syrian filmmaker Hassan Akkad, working as a cleaner on a hospital covid ward at the time, into dropping a disgraceful NHS surcharge on the very kind of migrant workers in our health system who helped save his life when he went into intensive care and an even more repulsive policy decision not to let families of NHS migrants who died risking their lives to save ours, stay in the country.
He also had to be repeatedly shamed by a young footballer Marcus Rashford into helping one and a half million of our poorest, neediest kids get a proper meal. Now this buffoon is repeating the same mistakes he made at the start of all this.
Boris ignored his own expert SAGE advice in late September to order a second national lockdown ‘circuit-breaker’ in order to stop the virus erupting again. By the time he did what he said he would not do, it was too late again and we are now seeing horrifying daily death totals and hospitalisations in some parts of the country at even higher levels than there were when this nonsense first took off.
And his government’s ongoing guidance as to what the lockdown rules are remains ridden with confusion, incomprehensible rhetoric, and a complete absence of common sense or joined up thinking. Even when we finally received some possibly good news about the Pfizer vaccine this week, Bunter J made a mockery of it by banging on about the ‘toot of a bugle’ as if he was on some fox hunt with his old Etonian mates.
Let’s face it Bunter Johnson has been a complete and utter disaster throughout this crisis. He has been aided and abetted by a miserably incompetent cabinet and a snarling pack of vile and professionally terrible advisers.
The Prime Minister’s chronic inability to lead, or even make a decision, has inevitably led to the farcical scenes we’ve seen erupt this week in Number Ten in which he has so obviously been overruled by his own fiancée. Bunter backed down to her demands, and Lee Cain promptly quit in a fit of pique, as I think did Dominic Cummings.
I don’t regard either man as any great loss to the affairs of state but what has this country come to when such important decisions are being made not by the pathetically weak Prime Minister but the unelected woman who shares his bed?
It perfectly exemplifies the rudderless nature of this drifting wreck of a government, run by a mop-haired blustering buffoon and his ever more tuneless tooting bugle. Bunter Johnson is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s not just Cain who should be driven out of Downing Street. His boss should disappear too before yet more lives are lost.
This country really cannot take much more hapless confusion and the situation is bad enough without having damaging public squabbling among the lower ranks of the Downing Street hierarchy. Nor can it afford to have an unelected young woman meddling in affairs of State.